Monday, April 20, 2015

One-Shot LibGuide

Updating the one-shot classes we teach for library instruction is a little nerve-wracking. This is only my second semester as the Reference & Instruction Librarian. For the last few years, the instruction classes have been given in the same way - lecture-style, using a worksheet as a way for students to follow along and pay attention. It's not too bad, but we have access to some amazing technology in our learning lab, so I want to incorporate it as much as possible.

So, as a way to get technology going, I am using a LibGuide to guide us through the entire interaction, so students can easily follow along. I've set it up here: Library 101 (ignore the fact that the tour is not actually a tour of our library).

My hope is that with this LibGuide searching as the students' "worksheet," they will be able to click around and follow along as we talk about library use.

In the past, the thought of giving students a computer has been avoided simply for the distraction it can cause. ("Wait, we weren't supposed to be browsing Pinterest and Facebook during class?") The good news, though, is that in the learning lab I'll be using, all the computers are connected to a central system. And I can choose to show any computer on the main screen at any time, without the user's permission. So, I can make it very clear at the beginning of class that if you are browsing a site you shouldn't be, you should be prepared for the entire class to know when I launch it on the main screen.

Additionally, the room setup allows me to watch what students are doing more easily. See my terrible MS Paint diagram below:
I've set up my laptop and Dell tablet with Chrome Remote Desktop, so that I as I teach the class, I can wander around and control the action in my hands without being tethered to the cable-connected teaching computer. The podium in the center of the class gives a nice 360˚ view of the room. The images project on three walls (the south wall in the drawing is the only one without a projector), so no matter which way I turn, I can see what the students are seeing, without being in the way. 

It's really a dream room as far as presentations and classes go. I'm hoping to one day set up some contests and races during the class and teach it in more of a "flipped" style.  But for now, I am sticking to very basic changes, so that we can see what works a little bit at a time. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Library Week

I know, I know. Every profession has a "week" or a "day." It's so overdone that it's almost not even worth doing anymore, right?


Library week is fun. It's a chance for us to do things we wouldn't normal get to do. (Dogs in the library! Let's do puzzles! Coloring pages for college students!) We get to branch out and try to make students' lives a little more fun. I like that about Library Week. Plus, I think the design this year is pretty rad. (Again, others say it's overdone. To them I say PSHAW, DO NOT RAIN ON MY PARADE.)

This week we've offered students a chance to win gift cards, had snacks and drinks available every day, hosted a poetry reading, brought in therapy dogs, and basically had lots of little activities. 

Maybe not everyone enjoys library week. Maybe the students think it's dumb. But their consumption of the cookies and cokes we put out seem to suggest otherwise. Also, I get to help work on a puzzle every so often, so that's fun. 

So, here's to Library Week and to all the great librarians out there doin what they do!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Haps

I'm back at work after a (too short, always too short) hiatus to be with my newborn babe. She's adorable, as you can see:
She's two months old and already stealing hearts

Now that I'm back, though, I am in full swing on the library train. I feel like several large projects are attacking me at once, so I'm trying to slog through things as best I can. But here, in no particular order (though I should find an order soon) is what I am working on, and may post on in the coming weeks:

Redesign of our 60-minute one-shot instruction sessions
Currently, our instruction consists of me talking at a bunch of students while they fill out a worksheet. We use the computer to project and show them everything, but it's not as interactive as I would like. I know the one-shot is a poor way to educate, but for now I have to work with the time we have. My ultimate goal will to be flipping the entire thing, and trying to get the students to do "pre-work" and use the instructional time to dive in to some more important pieces of the library. 

Faculty Liaison Work
I need to start creating some personal relationships with our faculty so we can better partner on library services. Easier said than done, but I'm working on a few angles.

3D Printing
We are considering buying a 3D printer, and so I am doing a little legwork to understand what our options are and how 3D printing is being offered in other libraries. This is a super-fun project, but I have to make sure not to let it take over my life, since I have bigger priorities.

Reference Tracking
I started a new method for reference tracking just before I went on maternity leave. The student workers have been doing an okay job at tracking while I've been out, but I need to motivate them to be more consistent. And, come to that, I need to remember to do it myself! Finally, I need to compile the results from January through March to see what our reference services look like.

I want to make a more robust selection of libguides on our website. It's a matter of figuring out what students need and making it, but that's easier said than done, too.

Website Development
Our website could use some updating (including my own picture and contact info!), so that's on the list as well. I had some training in how to use the CM software, but it was in December, and I have made a whole human life since then, and my brain has forgotten it all. Oops.

There's a lot to do, but it's a great challenge to figure out how to get it all done. I'm so glad I do what I do!